Assistant judges, or side judges as they’re sometimes called, have had a role in Vermont’s judicial decision-making since the state’s inception. They also have administrative county duties. They appoint the County Clerk, Treasurer and Auditor, among other positions and manage properties including the county courthouse and sheriff’s office. But the legal part of the assistant judge’s role could soon change, in an effort to save the court system money.
Assistant judges are not generally attorneys, they often have no formal legal background, and the position is an elected one. But that’s one of the reasons Jim Colvin doesn’t want the judicial role assistant judges are allowed on findings of fact to be taken away and given instead to lawyers, as a proposed plan would do.
Colvin is an Assistant Judge in Bennington County and President of the Vermont Association of County Judges. He says the assistant judge position is somewhat unique to the state of Vermont. Colvin speaks with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb.
Click listen to hear the interview.